Are you trapped by this Mental Habit that ruins your self-worth?

rupik and the cronut

I bet you know at least several people who do it…  This trap some fall into while considering their options. Just another negative mental habit. Until just recently I didn’t know it has a name, or how harmful it is.

Dr. Robert Anthony calls it “alternative thinking.” It’s a situation where we see only two choices… Likely learned in childhood: “if you don’t eat the dinner, you will not get the dessert.” 

I’ll illustrate it on an example of Kathleen… Kathleen has been in a marriage for the past 7… 15… 25 years?  Her husband is a man of mediocre quality. A man from the lower shelf.

Perhaps you can relate.. When you are looking for some special shoes for tomorrow, you storm thru the store last minute, and can’t find anything you like or can afford… and … suddenly you see them: 75% off. Nobody wanted them so far.  There is some damage in material, there is something wrong with them, but you don’t investigate: you are tired of looking and glad these shoes crossed your path.

This is how Kathleen found her husband.

But just like a cheap shoe, a man from the lower shelf has issues: it’s often uncomfortable, leaves blisters, and even the heel may break in public, bringing you shame. Oh, no.

But the man is not important in the story. It’s really irrelevant if there is violence of any kind. When Kat feels really unhappy and alone she calls her friend, and complain what the guy did and didn’t do, etc.

And from time to time the friend will bring up a question: “Well, so leave! Why don’t you just leave? How long are you going to suffer? You’ve been on the antidepressants for how long?”

To which Kathleen replies: 

[ And this is the important part of the story. THE ALTERNATIVE THINKING IN ACTION ]

She says: “I can’t” (followed by 25 reasons why it’s a bad idea.) Why?  “Because, if I leave, I will never find anyone again. OR even if I find someone he will be the same or maybe even worse!”

She sees only two possibilities. Both bad.

Her work situation is similar. Abusive boss. High blood pressure.  Yet when she is asked: “why don’t you leave, he treats you like shit!” she says:  I can’t. Who will hire me at my age. I will never find another job. And even if I will, they will pay less or the boss will be bad again!”

Kathleen sees only two choices. Each worse than the other. 

In alternative thinking fear dominates. Faith’s gone.

These days we can buy any shoes we can think of.  The choices are unlimited. But when it comes to the important areas of life –  we see only two choices ? And one is worse than the other? What’s happening here?

Can you find an example you have done it in your life? I certainly can. Early “friendships.” My early friends happened to be those from the lower shelf.  Being a teen, I haven’t seen any examples of what a true friendship is. 


There is no moral to the story…  just three questions we need to keep asking and answering:

  1. What is possible?
  2. How do I make the change?
  3. What do I deserve? What am I worthy of having?

What is possible. (1)

Sometimes you will have a sudden illumination and other times: growing into change. Listening to the feelings and the body: what makes me come alive?

I hear now and then, from people in various ages:  “This is the way it is.  It’s been like this forever, so why waste energy trying to change it?”

It makes me mad. Because if we don’t ask for the “impossible” nothing can change. 

How do I make the change? (2)

Let go of the old and open to the new.  

Here is what we need to remember about letting go: it’s hard for everyone.  There has been an experiment done:” When we are presented with making a change OR to prove there is no need to change, great majority will get busy proving there is no need.”

In a book by Barbara Stanny, a very successful woman shares “the change of companies was the best thing I could do for myself. And yet, the old place, that caused me so much misery, has my claw marks all over it. It was so hard to leave…”

“The intention helps the manifestation of what we want. Letting go creates room for the new.”

What do I deserve? (3)

Too many women work hard, accomplishing “the impossible” without asking for anything. We wait – years – for someone to acknowledge us: “wow, you are amazing! Here is your raise. Your reward. Your prize.”  But it doesn’t happen, because:

“You don’t get what you deserve. You get what you ask for.”

It also helps to stop criticizing yourself unfairly all day long.
If you ever questioned your uniqueness and self worth, how would you feel, if tomorrow you lived like you don’t need to prove your worthiness?

You don’t need to question it. You don’t need anyone’s approval.

You have plenty of choices, not just two, in whatever you worry about now. Just imagine.

So connect with what makes you come alive. And simply: declare your worth.

p.s. you also can have the cronut from the photo, without the guilt.

Joanna Zajusz

Through advanced hypnotherapy and life coaching Joanna has been helping clients to become free of their once adopted limitations, find confidence in their own voice, and create a strong foundation of inner peace.
She is a certified Mind Body Wellness Coach who lives in Phoenix, Arizona. (Because she moved to the Southwest – her dream – only 14 years ago, you may still detect a Central European accent in her writings and speech.) She is a passionate fan of Marianne Williamson, Caroline Myss, and Dr. Robert Anthony.

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